Since everyone out there is having a little chuckle over Kevin Youkilis being miffed that the United States was treated "like a visiting team" during its three WBC games in Toronto, I feel compelled to join in.
Heh! Ha! Chuckle! Chortle! Bwaa-haa! Hehe!
I mean, doesn't Youkilis realize you have to stamp a passport to get into Skeetsland? Doesn't he know they're doing business with a different currency? Why in the world would the Rogers Centre have been packed with American patriots? Silly Red Sock!
But wait ... In our laughing over Youk's narrow world view, are we missing his larger concern, which is that he hopes Dolphin Stadium features a pro-American crowd for this weekend's WBC action?
Is it possible he has good reason to be afraid heading into Saturday night's game against Puerto Rico?
Here's what a somewhat fearful Youkilis had to say in the Boston Herald:
"Hopefully we get a crowd that roots for us in the United States," Youkilis said, according to The Boston Herald. "It's going to be tough. I think our fans need to step it up. The people of the United States need to step it up and cheer us on."
He added: "If we're outnumbered in Miami, it's going to be tough to deal with. We're going to be in the U.S. We need a good fan base to cheer us on and help us win. It's going to be our home field. We should have home field advantage, hopefully. Hopefully."
Honestly, Youkilis has no idea what to expect back on American soil and neither do I.
So let's take a look at the figures:
In the 2006 WBC, Team USA drew a high of 38,284 fan for its game against Mexico in Anaheim and a low of 11,975 for its rout of South Africa in Scottsdale. It also drew 32,727 against Mexico in Phoenix, so there's no doubt that Mexican fans helped bolster the attendance numbers.
Both Puerto Rico and Venezuela should draw relatively well in Miami and it was the energy of the Venezuelan fans in Toronto that ushered Youkilis along to his grumpy state. Things could have been worse had the Dominican Republic qualified, but the Netherlands underdog story will probably hurt the turnstile count. There can't be that many Dutch honkball fans in South Florida, can there?
With lower-level seats starting at $50 apiece, it's also worth wondering how many fans will even be in Miami at all. The Marlins couldn't draw a crowd if they were peanut shells into $100 bills and with the economy being the way it is, it's hard to imagine that organizers will get the full stadium they're hoping for. (For what it's worth, an article reminding all that tickets are still on sale was recently posted on MLB.com.)
Then again, there's an entire state of baseball fans who are visiting and watching meaningless spring training games. Maybe they'll meander over to Dolphin Stadium for games with something actually on the line? Maybe they'll wearing the red, white and blue and yell their hearts out until they drown out the boisterous Venezuelans?
Youk Sam won't be disappointed.